The accumulation of bacteria, acid, saliva, and food residues creates plaque. Plaque, if left untouched, will not only solidify into tartar but will eventually deteriorate the outside layer of your teeth, the enamel, in a process called tooth decay. Without the enamel, your tooth is prone to infection, which in turn leads to cavities, severe pain, and even tooth loss.
Fortunately, you can avoid all of this if you brush and floss consistently, but what happens if you can’t floss or you simply forget to do it every time? You can opt for some alternatives like Waterpik.
What Is a Waterpik?
Waterpik is an oral health company whose main products are a variety of water flossers. A water flosser, also known as an oral irrigator, is a machine that uses a stream of pressurized water to remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth and gums. The machines come in different sizes for different purposes, but most of them have a motor with a pump, a water reservoir, and one or many special flosser tips.
Although they are not a replacement for either flossing or brushing, water flossers are a great option for those who don’t floss regularly. Whether it is because they don’t have the dexterity to use floss or they are lazy about it, using Waterpik is a much simpler and faster solution for many people. Additionally, studies found that oral irrigators do help reduce gingivitis, improve general gum health, eliminate up to 99% of plaque, and it is much more effective than floss in patients with braces.
How to Use a Waterpik?
The first step in using your Waterpik is to buy the right one for you. There are a variety of sizes and models targeted at different people. If you travel a lot, you may prefer a cordless version, while if you plan to use it at home permanently, you may opt for a model with a bigger reservoir and different tips.
Once you have your water flosser in hand, the first thing to do is to fill the reservoir with warm, not hot, water. You can add some other products to the water in the reservoir but make sure to check it’s safe to use with your water flosser. Waterpik has a great guide on what you can and can’t add to the water. Once you have your reservoir filled, select and insert the tip of your liking. Lean over the sink before turning it on to let the water fall directly into it.
Start by aiming your Waterpik at your teeth in the back without touching them. Turn it on and proceed to wash both the inside and outside of your teeth and gums, don’t forget to clean the space left between teeth. Take a couple of seconds on each tooth to make sure you don’t miss any food debris. After washing every tooth, gum, and little crevice, empty the reservoir to avoid bacteria growth.
How to Clean a Waterpik?
As with any cleaning product, it’s incredibly important to keep your water flosser bacteria-free. Fortunately, cleaning a Waterpik is relatively straightforward, and you only need to do it once every 1 to 3 months.
Aside from cleaning the outside of the machine and the handle, your first step is to remove the water reservoir and clean it either by hand with just water and soap or by putting it in the dishwasher and letting it dry by air. The second step is to check for a valve in the reservoir; only some models will have it, so don’t worry if you can’t find it. Remove the valve and wash it in warm water by hand. Whenever you finish cleaning your reservoir, mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with 16 ounces of water and pour it into the reservoir. Turn on the Waterpik and let it run until it empties the solution. Once it’s done, repeat the process but with pure warm water instead. For models with handles, you’ll need to remove them and let them soak in a 2-to-1 vinegar and water solution for at least 5 minutes. Finally, remove the tip and let it soak in a solution of 2 parts water and 1-part white vinegar for another 5 minutes.
How to Keep Good Dental Hygiene With Braces?
Given that braces make brushing and flossing significantly more difficult while also making them even more important, it’s important to have some extra tools at hand if you wish to keep your cleaning routine both fast and effective.
An interdental brush will help you get in the little crevices in between your teeth and braces that you can’t normally get to with a regular toothbrush, even if you brush at a 45° angle like recommended. Similarly, floss picks, and floss threaders will help maneuver your way through the metal wire and brackets to allow you to floss properly. As mentioned previously, a Waterpik will help you reduce almost all plaque that accumulates in your teeth and gums while keeping the whole process simple and quick.
Of course, the many tools at your disposal will only work if you develop a consistent cleaning routine throughout your entire braces treatment.
Maintain Proper Oral Health
Besides creating a proper cleaning routine and having the correct tools, the best thing to do to maintain your oral health is to have regular checkups with your dental specialist in Roswell. If you have any questions regarding water irrigators or if you wish to schedule an appointment, contact us here at Newpark Orthodontics.